Friday, April 12, 2013
Against miracle products because they're all bunk: http://www.cracked.com/funny-4180-diet-pro
Well, except maybe for these products:
And don't forget the tapeworms...
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Before I decided I wanted to be a nurse, I studied pysical therapy for the elderly. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn't decide to pursue it. I have a twisted sense of humor. Another Sparker and I were bantering about how BORING her aerobics class name was. "Sit and Be Fit". Really? It sounds like a command for dogs. Sit. Stay. I wouldn't do it. So I renamed it for her. Here are some more I came up with:
Rhyme and Punishment - aerobics to hip hop “music”
The Bungle - too fast, too crowded. But do the owners care? No! Because this is a meat market!
To Kill a Mocking Byrd - for Virginians who want to upstage the wealthy family at a Christmas party this year
Arses in Old Lace - no cameras allowed
The Great Gaspings - must be over 80 to join.
Edited to add: The Agony and Ex-Sexy
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I have never used a hula hoop. Not even once as a child in the 60s. Yep, I'm that square. I'm so square I've also never been drunk, never lit up a joint and never tried any of those other wild parties that were still common on campus before people heard about AIDs in the late 80s. Despite all that, I do love music. All kinds, from funk to opera, as long as it's made by people, not machines.
I spent ten years in a town that still had speak-easies. I used to play pool in them, largely because I wanted to pick the brain of a man who knew off the wall music better than I. I was a dj for a radio station then, and just for fun, I'd play at least triplets of songs on unusual topics. Before computers, tell me: how hard do you think it must be to find songs about kangaroos or dogs that people would actually LISTEN to?
I must have been really depressed about not getting in my first choice for nursing school. My second choice, the only other place I applied, may or may not choose me. So I've been bummed. But I think last night I was officially over it. I suddenly realized I have three days with some FREE TIME!!! OMG!!! And I was in the house all by myself with the dogs and nothing to do but cook dinner before my husband got home. I turned on a P-Funk CD (no one understands why I like it so I play it about once a year) and danced my fool head off while I made Indian curry. I can't dance. But the Boston terrier yipped and yapped and the poodle barked and spun around in circles and we had a great time. And when the CD was over and I picked another one, I thought: I can do this. I can be happy without nursing school.
This morning I gave blood. After I ate a little and decided I wouldn't faint, I went to the gym to do some sensible exercise after losing a pint of blood - just walking on a treadmill. Nothing too drastic. But there was music down the hall and I was curious about what Zumba looked like. So after I did two miles, I walked down there and poked my head in. They had hula hoops! Grown women with hula hoops! I was fascinated.
I saw Michelle Obama with one on a video. She looked fabulous. Like it was easy. These woman also seemed to think it was easy. Most of them had their arms up at shoulder level or above and were whirling their hips like dervishes. Only one woman in the back looked like I imagined I would look - red faced and flustered and dropping her hoop over and over.
The teacher stopped talking over her microphone and grabbed an extra hoop and I thought "OMG. She saw me." And sure enough, she came over with the hoop and asked if I'd like to join. Ugghhh... but she smiled so prettily. And I'm a southerner, sort of, and she might as well have been holding out cookies. I protested but not too hard. She protested back. Next thing you know, I had a hoop around my waist and she was showing me assorted ways to rock my hips while I was protesting that I didn't have any... just thighs masquerading as hips and she was pshawing over top of me that I do too have hips and just rock them already!
So I did. I dropped the hoop, but no more than the other obviously new person. And I'll go back next week. Because she's fun. The other ladies were nice. And because maybe I can do this, too.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Spring term starts today. Worrying about getting into nursing school ended officially when I got up this morning, theoretically.
I only applied for two schools, which is as it should be, since there were only two within a reasonable drive. I also did not realize how badly I needed a CNA to be competitive. I have a 3.98 GPA, but for one school I am not in district and I did not take any classes at all at the other school. So my chances, when there are 4 people applying for every slot, and ALL of them have excellent GPAs, are pretty darm slim. I was turned down by school #1. School #2, where I have taken no classes at all, still offers some hope. My chances are good IF they want a specific thing: someone who wants to work VA hospice. My conversations with other nursing students tell me that is where I am rare, because younger students tend to prefer exciting ER and feel-good pediatrics.
So my plan now is to take the advanced math class I need to be accepted into the bachelor's program, as if I will be accepted into the associate's program. I can't do it half heartedly because then I won't get an A. Math is not a great subject of mine. I have to give it my all. If I don't get accepted, I will take my CNA classes and reapply next year. I will also volunteer as much as possible at the VA because it feels good, I'll hone my skills and because the bachelor's programs really like to see volunteer work. I'll just have to try not to kick myself too hard.
Meanwhile, it has been raining and raining and raining here. I have not taken Solly for a walk once in the last week. He has barked at his leash and my shoes five or six times to tell me he's wanted to. To compromise, I take him out into my husband's home gym (which has stuff in it I can't possibly use) and run around, bouncing a toy bunny on a string while he chases me, trying to catch it. I can rack up 1,000 steps this way in two or three minutes. It's nowhere near as many steps as a real walk, but after awhile we both get clumsy because we get tired and the floor is slick in there. When we start knocking stuff over, it's time to stop. There are already claw marks all over the floor from Solly skids. Oops.
My husband is going to sign us up for the YMCA. It's 20 minutes from our house, which was a problem when we tried it before. I loved it, but didn't go as often as I wanted to because it was out of my way when I was travelling the opposite direction 5 days a week. But he works nearby now. It's also less than 5 minutes from the VA and 10 from the nursing school. I have asthma that makes regular exercise classes a problem for me, but I've been talking about trying the water aerobics classes for a year now. I am embarrassed to put on a suit because my thighs are very large, but hey... they'll be hidden in the water! And besides, I watched the classes before and everyone in there is female except a couple of HEAVY men who were probably told they had to exercise by their cardiologists. This doesn't look like a meat market or any place where I would be sized up and found deficient. (Or shall I say, overabundant in spots.)
My husband was thinking of signing up for a fancier gym, which would have been fine for him, but he realized I would probably never go. The Y has everything class-wise and equipment-wise. It is dingy and old-looking and often treadmills and rowers are partitioned off for repairs. But the people who go look like every class of people - rich and poor, muscular and Pillsbury doughboy, young and old. I feel comfortable there.
I'm also looking forward to squeezing in some gardening time, as soon as it's dry enough for me to do so. I used to have a market garden. No time for that this year, probably. But enough to fill our freezer, definitely.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
I have a favorite client. We are not supposed to have them, I know. But who can help having one? He was in multiple wars, has multiple wounds and is generally in reasonably good spirits about how poorly he gets around. Now he has other issues, which for patient confidentiality, I won't discuss.
The VA hospital made him wait months for tests and doctors visits with his primary physician (let alone specialists), for new pain medications and to get his diagnosis. HE is the reason I signed up to volunteer for their hospice (in addition to my for pay job), because I know at some point he will have to leave his home to be in their 24 hour facility. I want to be sure that someone (me) will be available to treat him with love and respect once he is in that facility.
I love hospice work best of all, anyway. It suits my personality. I am a mediator and a comforter. I have no qualms about dealing with even the "worst" tasks; I suction mucus; I change Depends and wound dressings. I give bed baths to men and women, even ones who have gone two months without a bath because they are so frightened. I am willing to meet clients in whatever condition they are in, at whatever age they behave like they are, and I treat their delusions as real if necessary. If they say they see or hear spirits or animae, I do not contradict them. (In fact, if they want me to, I help them "remove" the critters, as I did with a man who was possessed by octopuses. He experienced great relief. There is, in my opinion, no reason to tell a man within days of dying that he is imagining things if he is absolutely convinced he is not.) Most of the time I find great satisfaction and joy in doing these things.
Then there are days like today, when for some reason, I feel ineffectual.
Patients often get caught up in day to day living. When they come to hard moments at the end, they might wish for a chaplain, but sometimes they ask me for spiritual guidance - because I am the one they know, who has been coming day after day. I am Jewish and I think their families would probably have a cow. They needen't worry. I realize that usually the person is seeking reassurance rather than a discourse on MY personal beliefs.
Family members also seek guidance. Sometimes they directly ask. Sometimes, like today, they are indirect and there is a lot of tension. Sometimes husbands and wives or parents and children try to get me to choose sides.
The prayers families think they say for their patients often contain wants for themselves. (We want the patient to recover because we cannot imagine being ourselves without them.) Prayers with this in their core cannot be said in the presence of the patient. They are better shouted in an empty field or by the ocean, or somewhere else far from the patient. The hurt the petitioner feels is likely to disintegrate into anger, guilt and betrayal, maybe directed at God, medical personnel, others in the family and even at the patient for prior faults or for dying now.
If one is praying for another, pray FOR that other. Pray that the other receive comfort and peace, however they may come. That is all. Be still. Hold hands. Do that with the patient.
I know all this. I know it. I have counselled it and lived it and done it with dozens of others.
Today there was so much tension in the house. No one broke down. The threat of it just hung in the air. Did I fix it? I did not. Why? I do not know. I have a dozen and more times before. Because he is my favorite? Because I felt torn between him and her? Aaiiii...
I clocked out but I didn't want to go home. I went to the drugstore to get my hepatitis vaccinations for the hospice volunteering gig. I waited in line a looooonnnnggg time, only to be told they didn't have them in stock. So I drove to another drugstore. They wouldn't do them, either. So I tried to go to the Goodwill to donate clothes. They were closed. (It's Monday in rural Oregon.) So I tried to buy bread at a nice bakery. It was closed. Then I drove around for ten minutes because I still didn't want to go home. I finally decided I was being stupid and should go home, but I had some jerk tailgaiting me on a really windy road above a steep embankment above a river. My heart started to pound. Finally, I found a place to turn. The tailgater sped past me. I turned around, went home and rummaged around until I found my husband's stash of salty snacks.
Then I went to my second job of the day, feeling like a pufferfish.
My husband, who is a licensed clinical social worker, and I have both noticed how many nurses and social workers are very large. We know they all know better. But we also know exactly how it happens.
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